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The Flash, Ep. 1.13 & 1.14: “The Nucleur Man” and “Fallout” solidifies this as the hottest new show

The Flash, Ep. 1.13 & 1.14: “The Nucleur Man” and “Fallout” solidifies this as the hottest new show
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The Flash, Season 1, Episode 13, “The Nuclear Man”
Written by Andrew Kreisberg & Katherine Walczak
Directed by Glen Winter

The Flash, Season 1, Episode 14, “”Fallout”
Written by Keto Shimizu & Ben Sokolowski
Directed by Steve Surjik

Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on the CW

This week’s episode of The Flash, titled “Fallout,” capped off a two-part story arc focusing mostly on Firestorm. Last week in “The Nucleur Man,” the team attempted to track Ronnie Raymond’s whereabouts after he makes acquaintances with one Quentin Quale. What began as an awkward conversation between them, ended with Ronnie losing control and unleashing his powers on the Concordance Research scientist. Knowing that Dr. Martin Stein is in control of Ronnie’s body, the Star Labs team devise a plan to find and capture Firestorm who’s becoming increasingly dangerous to the citizens of Central City. It turns out that Ronnie/Martin have been watching over Stein’s wife, so Caitlin and Dr. Wells hold a stakeout at the Stein house using Clarissa as bait. With her help, they bring Ronnie/Stein back to their labs, in hopes of separating them through nuclear fission. Wells uses the hours they have left to find a way to save them both and creates a makeshift quantum splicer out of his tachyon prototype to stabilize Ronnie’s body and separate the two personalities.

After Firestorm goes running off, Barry and Caitlin chase after Ronnie/Stein, just outside the city and convince them tothe_flash_ep_13__span affix the splicer onto their chest (similar to Firestorm’s chest emblem in the comic book). Unfortunately Ronnie’s body still goes nuclear, and the explosion alerts General Wade Eiling (Clancy Brown), who orders his team out to the site in order to reclaim Project F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. (as seen in the episode’s stinger). The A plot continues this week in “Fallout” as Barry and Caitlin investigate the explosion and find Ronnie and Dr. Stein have separated. Not too long after, General Eiling arrives on site and conducts his own investigation of the crater left by Ronnie and Stein’s explosion. The two halves of Firestorm learn they may have some sort of psychic connection despite their recent physical separation. The General eventually catches up to Ronnie and nearly kidnaps him, if not for the help of The Flash who’s almost taken down himself when Eiling launches a small metallic cube full of metal spikes that go under Barry’s suit and pin him down like a magnet. Lucky for Barry, Caitlin arrives in a S.T.A.R. Labs van to save both him and Ronnie from the evil, but the General doesn’t give up and eventually gets his way: With the unwilling help of Dr. Wells (and a sedative in Stein’s drink), The General scoops up one half of Firestorm and take him back to his base where he tortures him via electrocution (just like he once did to a poor gorilla named Grodd). Thankfully Ronnie is still connected to Stein and has the brilliant idea to ask him where he is by way of carving the word “where” into his arm with a piece of glass. Since Ronnie and Stein are linked in more ways than one, the same scars appear on Stein’s arm, who’s still held captive by General Eiling. Stein replies the only way he can, using Morse code to send a message back – a clue which allows Ronnie and Barry to figure out the location of the secret base and head out to save the day. And that’s just the A-plot of this two parter…

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Ronnie Raymond was first introduced (by name that is), way back in the pilot episode, when Caitlin told us of his death the night of the particle accelerator explosion. It didn’t take long before Ronnie was revealed to have survived the explosion and been transformed by it into a meta-human as seen in his big reveal at the end of the midseason finale (when he saved Barry from the Reverse Flash). In “The Nuclear Man,” however, Ronnie’s story is given center stage. After finally addressing the mystery of Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein (or better yet, how they merged to became Firestorm), The Flash wasted no time in “Fallout” dealing with their dilemma: Ronnie and Dr. Stein are forced to reunite to survive Eiling’s military assault. Merging properly this time, Ronnie and Dr. Stein are able to control the Firestorm Matrix within them, and more importantly, able to merge and separate whenever needed.

The Flash capped off its two-part Firestorm storyline with no metahuman villain present. General Wade Eiling was more than enough to carry the episode, especially with his arsenal of anti-metahuman weapons, including the aforementioned fragment grenade. Eiling may not be the most complex character, but his mission definitely serves as a catalyst for some strong emotional beats and introduces a bigger threat to every meta-human out there. Clancy Brown definitely fits the bill and plays Eiling as a fearsome character who’s not above torture or murder to get what he wants. And despite his few appearances so far, I’m pretty sure we will see him again as a formidable foe.

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“The Nuclear Man” may have been all set-up for “Fallout,” but it paid off in spades, with plenty of nods to Firestorm’s comic origins and a great introduction for the giant, super-strong, telepathic gorilla (“Not God. Grodd”). And while the show still has to prove that it can make Grodd work over the course of a full season, the computer generated effects for Grodd are surprisingly good. And what an unexpected surprise to see Wells suit up, and than unmask for the first time. Even readers of the comics are still guessing what his intentions are. In “Nucleur Man,” Wells sacrifices his tachyon prototype to save Ronnie, and in “Fallout,” he kidnaps General Wade and brings him to the sewers as a reward for Grodd. All the more interesting considering that his blood was not found at the Allen house (we’ll get to that in a minute). Is Wells even a villain?

Meanwhile, in a bit of a strange pairing, Joe enlists Cisco’s help and brings him along on a case that takesThe-Flash-S1-Ep13-The-Nuclear-Man-3 them to Barry’s childhood home in the hopes of finding a way to identify who murdered Barry’s mother. The house is currently occupied by a middle-aged divorcee who quite amusingly, has the hots for Joe. It doesn’t take long before Cisco discovers a mirror coated in silver nitrate that may have captured a photographic image of the night of Barry’s mother’s death. By using a device that can identify “molecular schisms,” he constructs holographic images of the crime scene and discovers two different traces of blood behind the wallpapered walls. Cisco runs the blood samples and comes up with the shocking revelation that the blood belongs to the adult Barry Allen – a piece of news that shakes Barry to the core, now that he knows he’ll one day come face to face with Reverse-Flash and fail to save his mother’s life. It doesn’t look like time travel is in the cards anytime soon, but watching Barry struggle with this knowledge makes for a compelling watch. Grant Gustin strikes the right balance of determination and the desperate longing – and skillfully balances two seemingly different superhero archetypes: the young, optimistic, geeky but actually cool Peter Parker type – and the emotionally-scarred, Bruce Wayne type. This revelation also allows the show to address the topic of time travel, which as Wells explains, is theoretically possible. And if you didn’t understand what he was saying, leave it to Cisco to simplify things by referencing beloved movies like Terminator and Back to the Future to explain the ramifications of what fooling around with the time continuum could cause. It’s really intriguing to see Barry using this newfound evidence as a way to avoid failing again, and overcoming all odds in changing history. Of course the possibility that he may succeed opens up a whole can of worms: If he does succeed in rewriting the past, what does this mean for the show, or better yet, season one? Will the ripple effect cause major changes to the other characters? And just who will build a Cosmic Treadmill?  

the-flash-114-fallout-018-122296The CW’s imagining of DC Comics’ scarlet speedster has exceeded expectations. There are many reasons to love this show; from the zany pop culture references; the charming multi-cultured cast; the imaginative action set pieces; special effects; tangled romance; and the unique, yet faithful spin on the original source material. And if last week’s Flash proved anything, it’s that not every episode has to revolve around a new case of the week, nor feature a new villain threatening Central City. Sometimes Barry’s personal life is enough of a challenge.

– Ricky D

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Flash Facts:

Barry: “If you’re not sick of me by then, we can get FroYo.”

Dr. Wells: “I’m assuming you have Barry on speed dial.”

Barry: “If you could just not … flame on.”

Wells: “It seems Ronnie’s fight with the Flash has exacerbated the Firestorm matrix.”

General Eiling: “Bring me Firestorm.”

I love Cisco’s gadgets that look like they belong in the movie Ghostbusters.

Barry: “Nice to see you in the flesh again, Professor Stein.”

Dr. Wells: “Doc Brown! … Tremendous picture.”

Cisco: “I say this knowing we have a guy locked up in the basement that can turn himself into poison gas.”

Eiling: “Last time I did this, it was to a gorilla.”

Cisco: “Area 27! I betcha that’s where they’re keeping Stein. I betcha that’s where they’re keeping the aliens, too!

Other pop culture references: The Twilight Zone, and Cisco describes Caitlin and Ronnie’s relationship as “10 seasons of Ross and Rachel smushed into one year.”

Stein: “I’m still inside Ronald.”

Cisco: “There has to be a better way to phrase that.”

Midway, where Caitlin says her “cousin” was from, is the fictional home city of Hawkman and the Doom Patrol.

Notice the repeated references to Coast City (Green Lantern’s home town).

How convenient is it that Barry met Stein the night of the particle accelerator explosion, while en route to meet Wells with his F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. Project?

The Flash returns March 17th!

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