Season Two, Episode Ten — “Potential Energy”

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. Everyone knows who Turtle is except Barry. Turtle knows Patty is precious to The Flash, but Patty doesn’t. Anyone else feeling dizzy? Time to get reacquainted with the zaniness of The Flash.

It’s been a minute since we had a visit from our star-crossed citizens of Central City, but The Flash came back to us strong with plenty of dizzying, mind-boggling superhero moments — most of them coming from some dude in a green hoodie called Turtle, no less! And it would seem that everyone used their holiday break wisely, because the entire cast showed up to work rested, ready to fire on all cylinders. (Except for Jay, who I guess is dying now.)

But I guess the writing staff is still working off their eggnog-fueled hangovers (oof), because — the hell?! — Patty’s a hostage? Again? And Wally West — Wally West! — is patently unlikeable??! Oh, show. We all know you’re better than this. All in all, “Potential Energy” was a doofy episode with the requisite amount of schmaltz, an able villain, and more lingering plotlines than you can shake a Guide To The CW DC Universe at. (Should probably get around to writing that.)

WHAT WORKED: If I had a gripe about the first half of the second season, it was that Barry kept taking a back seat to his (admittedly stupendous) supporting cast. I appreciated that this was more of a Barry-centric episode, forty-odd minutes of television that had our hero grappling with decision, stymied by consequence. (Even if the problems he had — telling the woman he loves his secret identity, a villain that can only be stopped by running really, really hard — were achingly familiar.) More focus on Barry, please.

Who knew that The Turtle would be such a noteworthy adversary? As a throwback to the halcyon days of Jay Garrick’s fleet-footed adventures, Turtle made me shift in my seat whenever he was onscreen. Certainly helped that actor Aaron Douglas imbued the role with a bit of Geoff Johns-ian menace: he speaks in halted measure, he’s appropriately sinister and, ew, creepy. And those Turtle special effects? Awesome. It was all going so well. Then everything got creepy and dumb. (More on that in a minute.)

WHAT DIDN’T: Wally’s ‘tude ain’t doing it for me. It works, I guess, that Wallace would have a king-sized chip on his shoulder when it came to his dear ol’ dad, but his little “I live life on the edge” hotrod sequence gave me acid flashbacks to Fant4stic, and no. That’s not okay. And didn’t we just do the whole “disgruntled youth likes fast cars and hates your face” schtick with Jefferson Jackson six episodes ago? C’mon, show! I want to love Wally. Don’t chump him up.

Why. Why are we doing this. Why is Patty Spivot a ding-dang hostage for The Flash to save? Again? You know, I want Patty to work out on this show too! And yet you continued to place her in danger, not once, not twice, but three separate times. If you can’t find anything for her to do besides be the… ick… “damsel in distress”, then maybe it’s for the best that she takes a few weeks off. It’s time for a writer’s summit, people! Brainstorm!

BEST LINE(s):

Cisco: “As some of you may well know I’ve been deeply embroiled in a secret, one-sided battle with an invisible enemy.” Dr. Snow: “No, not ‘The Turtle’ again.”

What was it like in Turtle Time?” – Cisco!

Cisco’s got a whole list of unidentified metas. The boys around here are calling him ‘Cisco de la Mancha.” – Detective Joe.

Dr. Snow: “How do you look in a tux?” Cisco: “C’mon, he’s 6’2″, square-jawed, and he’s jacked. I think he looks fine.” Jay: “I’m 6’4″.

Cisco: “You know, you’re a great superhero?” Barry: “Thanks.” Cisco: “A really great superhero.” Barry: “Thank you.” Cisco: “You think it’s a good idea when you’re crime fighting to bring a date?

BEST MOMENT: Wells-2 goes dark. Well, darker than usual. Considering all we’ve been through with the Harrison Wells of Earth-2, it was only a matter of time before he went and did something drastic. We should have seen it coming, really; once he started his monologue (dedicated to his daughter, Jessie) and those horns and drums kicked in, you knew we were about to watch something that made you go “yeww“. Right now, no one knows Zoom has Wells-2 over a barrel. No one knows he’s inches away from betraying Barry. But I have a feeling whoever’s on criminal feeding duty (assuming somebody actually does that) is about to walk into a powder keg.

EPISODE’S MVP: Cisco Ramon. I dunno if Cisco’s been eating his Wheaties, but Carlos Valdes arrived to the second half of Season Two with guns blazing. His delivery, his energy, his quips… fire. And the sass, too! Don’t anyone dare forget about the sass. If the burn towards Vibe must be a slow one, if it means we get to spend more time with our cherubic scientist in his purest form, then sign me up. I’d rather Cisco stay exactly like this for a while longer. Y’know, before the show slaps a pair of shades on ‘im.

© 2015 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2015 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

FLASH FACTS:

– I know that S.T.A.R.’s tech is hot shit, but how’s that computer keeping up with Barry?

– The Turtle — a Jay Garrick villain from way, way back (in All-Flash #21, 1945) — seems to have been given a gritty, gloomy 21st Century makeover; there’s no shell on this dude, but at least the show gave him a green hoodie. That’s almost the same thing, right?

– Vandervoort Diamonds? Like, Laura Vandervoort? As in, Kara Zor-El of Smallville Vandervoort? Cheeky.

– They need to let Jay grow his hair back. He looks like a doofus.

– Can I ask a question? Do kids actually go hot-rodding these days? I don’t live in Vancouver or anything, but it seems to me that kids don’t go hot-rodding these days.

– Another Midway City shoutout. Maybe after the first season of Legends of Tomorrow settles down, Hawkman and Hawkgirl can make a home there?

– Turtle holes up in his creepy mausoleum, formerly Naydel Library. As in Martin Naydel, co-creator of The Turtle.

– So, anybody wanna speculate on where Eobard Thawne was at the end of the episode? I have some running theories:

    • Earth-2 neighborhood of Henry and Nora Allen, roughly fifteen years ago.
    • Earth-1 neighborhood of Henry and Nora Allen, today, after being caught in a temporal loop during a battle with The Flash.
    • Who cares? Gideon!

6.5 out of 10