Your regularly scheduled recapper, Chancellor Agard, will return for the next episode. Until then, forgive all the horrible puns I’ll make in his place.
After finally addressing the mystery of Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein last week, The Flash wasted no time in “Fallout” dealing with the… well, fallout. The episode picks up immediately where the last one ended, with Firestorm seeming to explode in a nuclear blast. Firestorm is revealed, however, to have survived, with Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein living comfortably back in their own bodies—minus some charred clothing from the blast. All should be well. Caitlin and Ronnie are reunited, Stein is back at home with his wife, and other than Stein taking on Ronnie’s love of pizza, they appear back to normal.
But nothing is exactly normal in a world full of metahumans. The two halves of Firestorm learn they may have a lingering connection despite their animosity for each other, while General Wade Eiling is hot on their trail. “The Nuclear Man” may have been all set-up for “Fallout,” but it paid off in a (mostly) satisfactory way with plenty of nods to Firestorm’s comic origins.
METAHUMAN(S) OF THE WEEK: Firestorm, a.k.a. Professor Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond (but this time as two separate people!)
With the Firestorm case seemingly put to rest early in “Fallout,” despite the lingering, identical fever Ronnie and Stein share, Barry decides to tackle the other metahuman problem in his life—his mother’s death. Joe brings Barry to his childhood home for the first time since the night that changed his life. There, he shows Barry the DNA evidence Cisco found about adult Barry’s presence at the scene.
This revelation allows the show to broach the never whatsoever confusing topic of time travel, which Wells explains to Barry, Joe, and the S.T.A.R. Labs gang is theoretically possible. Cisco refers to the bastions of time-travel lore, Terminator and Back to the Future (the latter of which Wells is a big fan), as helpful explainers for the ramifications of what fooling around in time could cause. For the moment, it’s all theory and sci-fi movie tropes, though. They don’t know how it would actually work.
So Barry seeks out Stein for a second opinion. Victor Garber plays the good professor with just enough looney glee as he discusses the possibilities of time travel to make his excitement genuine, but not cartoonish. Stein sees time like a highway. If one were to simply find the on and off ramps, they could visit the past and future. (Stein’s personal preference? The Chicago World’s Fair so he could hash out some ideas with Nikola Tesla.)
Stein supports the idea that Barry’s abilities could allow him to jump through time, though the scarlet speedster takes this news as confirmation that his destiny is to fail in saving his mom’s life.
Barry continues to discuss the subject at Stein’s home until the professor suddenly stumbles in pain, yet there’s seemingly no cause. That would be because the pain results from his connection to Ronnie, who is currently under assault by General Wade Eiling’s troops while trying to catch up with Caitlin. Stein recognizes the source of the pain and sends Barry off to save Ronnie.
Barry knocks out all of Eiling’s men, but the general has a trick up his sleeve in the form of a small metallic cube full of metal spikes attracted to kinetic energy like a magnet. They pierce Barry’s body, trapping him in place until Caitlin arrives in a S.T.A.R. Labs van that Ronnie throws Barry into to save him.
In the episode’s first physically painful scene, Cisco and Caitlin remove the nails from Barry’s body while the entire team catches up to Ronnie and Stein’s mental connection. Wanting to keep them safe until they fully understand what’s happening to the two men, Barry brings Caitlin and Ronnie over to Joe’s house to stay the night, where they have to lie to Iris about who Ronnie actually is.
While they cover up one lie, Wells is hiding his own at the labs, where he shares a drink with Stein. The two commiserate about the particle accelerator’s explosion, but Wells actually has Stein there to hand him over to Eiling. A nice sedative in his drink allows Eiling to come in and scoop up one half of Firestorm without a problem, Wells having bought into Eiling telling him it’s the best move to make.
The general takes Stein to an abandoned military compound, (because there’s always at least two or three of those lying around, right?), torturing him via electrocution, just like he did to a poor gorilla named Grodd, for information on how Firestorm works. Stein refuses to tell him, but the pain is having one effect—on Ronnie, who has the brilliant idea to ask Stein where he is by way of wound. Ronnie cuts the word “where” into his arm with a piece of glass. It’s disgusting, particularly when the same scars appear on Stein’s arm, who Eiling has given a moment to rest.
Next: Things are about to become very hot.