Tuesday, February 2, 2016
The Flash Season 2 Episode 12 "Fast Lane" Review and **SPOILERS**
Run Your Speed Force
Story By: Kai Yu Wu & Joe Peracchio, Brooke Eikmeier
Directed By: Rachel Tally
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Tom Cavanagh
First Aired: February 2, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It’s Tuesday! It’s Tuesday! That means the Flash is on! Around the Reggie homestead, we call it “the quiet hour,” which means the missus has to write her questions on an index card for later discussion and the cat needs to go out with the empty milk bottles. Nothing short of an adjacent fire or comical, spring-loaded whoopee cushion could draw me away from this television show, and I’m delighted as could be to bring you my review and gushing praise for this most glorious of comic book adaptations! Keep reading!
A couple of years ago, two grimy thugs named Daniel Burge and Clay Stanley held one Joey Monteleone over a bubbling vat of tar down at Hudsons Roofing Tar Industries. Clay actually knows several uses for tar, which is pretty strange, then demands some bank account codes from Joey. When given the codes, he then drops Joey into the tar, then he and Daniel hop into a car driven by Clark Bronwen. Just that moment, the big STAR Labs explosion that created the Flash, among other metahumans, happens, so the thugs wig out like a bunch of Jerry Lewises and take off.
Over at the West house, Joe, Iris, and Wally are having dinner, having a lovely chat when Iris needs to fuck it all up by condemning Wally for drag racing. Joe the cop is playing it all cool, but of course Iris the muck-raking reporter for the Central City Picture News has to be a killjoy. Wally takes off and Joe and Iris have some strong words. Over at STAR Labs, Harrison Wells is figuring out how to steal Barry’s speed force for Zoom, as part of a deal to keep his captured daughter alive, when Barry strolls in and offers his assistance. He speed-reads a bunch of heavy Physics textbooks which is one of my all-time favorite silly abilities of the Flash—the boost in intellect is temporary, of course, limited to his short-term memory. Even Harrison Wells isn’t made of stone, so he acquiesces and lets Barry give him a hand in his own destruction.
That evening at the drag race, Wally is milling around with his people when his dumb sister strolls up in a purple jacket from Joker’s collection and an opossum stole. She embarrasses the shit out of Wally in front of his super cool friends, who call him Tail Lights because he’s got really cute buns. She doesn’t stop Wally from racing, but she does take a completely conspicuous picture of the race organizer with her Apple™ iPhone6® in champagne. Back at Hudson’s Roofing Tar Industries, recent construction to bring the plant back in operation seems to have awakened something from the tar pits—none other than Joey Monteleone, now known as Tar Pit! He tracks down one of his killers, Daniel Burge, and smothers him in hot tar because, well, that’s pretty much his power. Joe and Barry check out the scene of the murder the next day and can officially, and in a professional capacity, admit it is really gross. Back at STAR Labs, Harrison Wells is sneaking around with his Speed Force Stealing Disc while Barry and Cisco stroll around the hallways, discussing Cisco’s new app for tracking metahumans. Luckily, Barry’s costume comes equipped with a big Flash medallion, under which Wells can easily affix the disc. He then walks away and plays it cool by acting like his usual prickish self, when Cisco gets a broadcast from his app about a metahuman sighting somewhere in Central City! The Flash takes off, newly-affixed disc glowing an even throb under his Flash medallion, stealing his Speed Force and somehow shooting it into a glass vial next to Harrison Wells, who might as well be cackling and wringing his hands with devilish glee.
When the Flash gets to Tar Pit, he saves Clay Stanley, and is able to diffuse Joey into a slick of goop by spraying him with water from a hydrant. Back at STAR Labs (hereinafter known as BASL), Clay is recalcitrant to talk because he was just rescued from a tar monster by a lightning-fast Twizzler. The team does some work and learns that Clay, Daniel, and Joey are connected because they went to Juvenile Detention together. Meanwhile, Iris decides to storm into drag race organizer Clark Bronwen’s rank office and tell him to stop foolin’ around or she’ll squeal. Clark threatens her, but it turns out she recorded his threats and sent them straight to Central City Picture News. Damn you, liberal media! At some point, the squad BASL are able to put Clark in their Tar Pit picture because he bunked with these guys in Juvie Hall and, as I said in the beginning, he drove the getaway car after the fellas dumped Joey in the pool of tar. See how nicely this is all written?
So Harrison Wells steals a little bit of Flash’s Speed Force and gives it to Zoom, who just shoots it up on the spot and tweaks out with blue lightning. He demands more, at which point Wells should up his price, if I understand my drug-dealing economics correctly. BASL, Barry and Wells are chillin’ and Wells is moved to admit that when made to choose between the safety of his daughter and a bunch of chumps from another dimension that he just met, he’s going to choose his daughter and betray them. I mean, he literally says this and Barry just says some pithy supportive platitude. That evening, Iris and Joe go to the drag race to get Clark and maybe to check out Wally’s driving skills. Lucky, too, because Wally is in the first race but ends up losing control of his car when Tar Pit congeals underneath the racers’ cars and then makes Wally’s car do a loop-de-loop. The Flash runs downtown and saves Wally, then saves Clark from a spinning car, then tries with all of his might to catch a spinning piece of glass—but he cannot! It pierces Iris in her right shoulder, which is a life-threatening injury on this show.
Iris recovers and is in the hospital with her dad, really milking this shit if you want my opinion, when Wally shows up with a bunch of flowers and some awkward conversation. He obviously feels bad, so Joe exploits that to tell him that he’s got a family that cares about him, whether he likes it or not. Just then Joe gets a call and Wally says it’s okay to take off—he’ll stay with Iris. I mean, she just got struck in the shoulder with some glass for crap’s sake. BASL, Wells admits to the Flash crew that he stole some of Barry’s Speed Force, so Joe strolls in and punches Wells in the face and they throw him in what must be the most inhumane prison this side of Guantanamo Bay. Then Joe uses Clay as bait to get Tar Pit, who then gets cryogenic bombs thrown at him by the Flash. This leaves only a vulnerable Joey Monteleone standing around dumbly, so Joe punches him in the face. Is this part of cop training? The day being saved, the team considers the option of sending Wells back to Earth-2 and sealing up all the wormholes between dimensions, but determine that they can’t leave that reality to Zoom’s evil clutches and agree to save Harrison Wells, his daughter, and everyone else—we’re going to Earth-2!
I loved this episode and I love this show. I didn’t even get into this whole thing running throughout where Wally West keeps talking about speed, how he loves speed, and he’s all about speed, and it makes you wonder: gee, ya think something speed-related might happen to him? I also forgot to mention that Barry and Harrison make this neon football thing that can close these dimensional warps when Barry throws it using his quarterback’s arm. This show just gets me all giddy, I want to rattle off all the awesome things that happened in it. I don’t even care that Tar Pit looked like a reject from Starfox 64, I cannot wait for the next episode!
Bits and Pieces:
This episode had a bunch of silly pseudo-scientific gadgets and awesome muscle cars, making it the best thing on television at the moment. If it adds a robot and a kaiju then it might become the best of all time. Harrison Wells gets redemption, but not without a price—same with Wally West, though the price doesn’t seem as dire. Barry is two percent less fast than he was last episode, but that’s still a few thousand percent faster than most people on television, save for enthusiastic infomercial hosts.