If there’s one constant in the Arrow/The Flash-verse, it’s that someone is always keeping something from at least one other person. These shows, characters, and comic books themselves love their secrets—especially, secret identities. Tonight’s episode sees The Flash‘s characters deal with the burden of keeping secrets. They become well acquainted with the maxim: “Secrets secrets are no fun. Secret, secrets, hurt someone.” Barry, Joe, and Eddie are lying to Iris; Barry is lying to Cisco and Caitlin; and Wells, as we know, is lying to everyone and seems to find it easier than the other characters. Also, Arrow‘s Felicity and Ray, a.k.a. Arrow/The Flash‘s poster couple for a healthy relationship because no one’s lying, pay Central City a visit and serve as a nice counterpoint.
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: Brie Larvin, a.k.a. the Bug-Eyed Bandit (The Walking Dead‘s Emily Kinney):
Since realizing that Wells is the Reverse Flash, Barry has been trying to keep his distance and has instead been working very closely with Joe and Eddie to close non-metahuman cases. Not only is it hard to work with the man who killed his mother, but it’s also difficult having to keep what he knows from Cisco and Caitlin. Joe’s worried about where Cisco and Caitlin’s loyalties may lie and advises Barry against telling them. After a robotics professor at Hudson University is killed by a swarm of bees, Barry’s forced to suck it up and work alongside the S.T.A.R. Labs team to catch the murderer. (ASIDE: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from TV/Law & Order SVU, it’s to never attend a Hudson University. END ASIDE)
Team Flash won’t be working alone; however, because Felicity and Ray have come to Central City to ask S.T.A.R. Labs to help them with Ray’s A.T.O.M. suit. To no one’s surprise, Felicity and Ray fit right in with The Flash; it makes you wish they would hang around every week. Everyone at S.T.A.R. Labs is impressed by Ray’s suit, including Wells; however, Cisco isn’t too fond of Ray’s chosen alias, “The Atom.”
Since the moment she arrived, Felicity could tell that all was not right with her favorite people in Central City. Felicity—who, like most of us who watch The Flash, was looking for a break from the mood and brood of Starling City—is disappointed because everyone’s in a funk. “I thought Central City was supposed to be the fun one,” says Felicity to Barry and Eddie, both of whom aren’t having a good day, at Jitters. (Did I mention that tonight’s episode is very meta?) Yes, things have been great for Eddie professionally since finding out Barry’s secret, the same can’t be said of his private life. Eddie hates lying to Iris because not only can she tell he’s keeping something, but, as he points out after meeting Felicity, literally everyone except Iris knows Barry’s secret.
Eddie pointing out how ridiculous it is that Iris is the only one who doesn’t know Barry Allen is The Flash is probably the one meta moment that doesn’t work in the show’s favor because it brings The Flash‘s biggest flaw into sharp relief. Maybe it’s having suffered through six seasons of Lana not knowing Clark’s secret of Smallville, but I think Iris not knowing is ridiculous. Not only does Joe/Eddie/Barry’s rational make very little sense—lying never protects the people you love on these shows—but it is also hurting Iris the character. Bringing her into the fold would make Iris feel more vital to the series. But, I digress.
Felicity, Barry, and Eddie’s coffee sesh is cut short when someone else who works in robotics is attacked by a swarm of killer bees. The Flash rushes to the scene of the attack, but he’s too late. Unfortunately, the bees are still there and set their sights on Barry. Sadly, his suit isn’t thick enough to protect him and upon being stung, he’s sent into cardiac arrest. Thankfully, his suit just happens to have a built-in defibrillator, so the team is able to shock his heart back into action remotely.
Nothing can slow Barry Allen down, not even a heart attack, so after recovering from his near death experience, he heads out to dinner with Felicity, Ray, Iris, and Eddie. He’s five wheelin’ and hating it. However, the dinner ends rather quickly. Barry can’t handle all of his feelings about Wells and lying to Caitlin and Cisco, so he has a panic attack and rushes to bathroom. Felicity follows, and he tells her about Wells. Meanwhile, Iris and Eddie have a fight about Eddie lying, which leads to Iris storming off and Eddie running after her. One of Brie’s bees (hehe) remained attached to Barry’s suit and is now buzzing around S.T.A.R. Labs, so Barry speeds off to help his crew, thus leaving Ray and Felicity, the healthy no-secret having couple, to finish 17 courses.
NEXT: Let’s get down to bees-ness.
Wells is about to use his own powers to catch the bee when Barry shows up and does it for him. After a quick examination, they realize it’s a robot and that they aren’t dealing with a metahuman. It just so happens that the robotic bee also has a camera, so Brie definitely finds out Barry’s The Flash—which, again is ridiculous, when you realize that she knows, but Iris doesn’t.
Realizing that it’s not a coincidence that two robotics scientists were targeted, Felicity cross-references the victims’ work history, and it turns out they both worked for Mercury Labs. Barry, Joe, and Wells pay Dr. Tina McGee (Amanda Pays) another visit. She’s able to identify Brie. Brie developed these robotics bees while working at Mercury, but was fired after Tina realized Brie was weaponizing them. Not wanting to be burned a second time, Tina turns down their protection. (Noting the use of “one,” Wells is quick to ask if Brie has another. Tina doesn’t respond).
Indeed, Brie does send her swarm after Tina. The show draws a connection between Brie and Barry because the former also feels betrayed by her mentor. Team Flash decides to send The Flash after Brie herself and Ray, in his impenetrable suit, to protect Tina because the defibrillator in Barry’s suit is fried and won’t work a second time. However, their problem isn’t solved because Brie has more bees waiting for Barry when he shows up, which leads to a hack-off between Brie and Felicity as the latter tries to steal control of the bees. Because she’s badass, Felicity succeeds in disabling the bees and Barry’s able to cuff Brie.
Meanwhile, the bees that were sent after Tina start chasing Ray, but he’s able to destroy them with by luring them into the body of water that surrounds Starling City—except for one, which clings to his suit. The remaining bee is about to sting Ray, but Cisco jumps in front of it. Barry speeds to his side and vibrates his hands to create enough electricity to shock Cisco’s heart back into rhythm. It works. (Who thinks this will somehow lead to Cisco getting powers?)
Later, Tina pays Barry a visit to apologize for turning down his, Joe, and Wells’ help. Before she leaves, Barry asks what happened between her and Wells. It turns out, Wells and Tina used to be thick as thieves, but something changed after his fiancée died; it’s like he became a different man (but, actually). Right below, Iris pays Eddie a visit, and even though Barry tried to explain to her why Eddie might be keeping something from her, it’s not enough. She gives Eddie an ultimatum: either he open up to her or it’s over. See, secrets aren’t any fun!
The Hero Whisperer Strikes Again
Hacking isn’t Felicity’s only talent. She also has a way of being able to push past every superhero’s internal b.s. and talk some sense into them, which she does with Barry tonight. As we discussed, Barry opened up to her about keeping Caitlin and Cisco in the dark about Wells/Reverse Flash. Having seen how destructive and counterproductive it is to keep secrets from your teammates on Arrow, Felicity tells him that she can tell Cisco and Caitlin are good people and won’t betray him if he tells them what’s up.
Cisco sacrificing himself for Ray, combined with Felicity’s advice, is enough to convince Barry and Joe that it’s time to bring Caitlin and Cisco in on their investigation. Barry shows them his pinboard of evidence, but Caitlin still doesn’t believe him. However, Cisco does. As it turns out, for the past few weeks Cisco has been having dreams, sometimes when he’s awake, about the events in “Out of Time.”
You’re confused? So am I, but let’s try to make sense of it anyway. Because Cisco’s brain/subconscious remembers being killed by Wells, we can infer that The Flash may be borrowing/putting a spin on the Lost/Desmond and X-Men Days of Future Past version of time travel, i.e. a person’s consciousness, and not their body, does the time traveling. Obviously, this is a working theory and there are definitely ways to debunk it, like “Why doesn’t Caitlin remember anything?” Perhaps, it’s because it wasn’t nearly as traumatic for her consciousness as it was for Cisco’s. Who knows? The Flash has not done a good job of explaining time travel so far, but hopefully that will change.
Wall of Weird:
- Superman shoutout: Caitlin and Cisco confuse Ray flying for a bird and plane.
- “God, there’s two of them,” said Caitlin when Felicity and Ray do their awkward rambling thing after saying many embarrassing things about their sex life, specifically Ray’s hardware.
- “What is it with billionaires being superheroes?” Caitlin again.
- “It’s like I’m dating Barry in Oliver’s body,” Felicity says to Caitlin.
- Tonight’s episode drove home what’s so great about Ray and Felicity’s relationship and why it’s preferable to an Oliver and Felicity pairing. Ray, unlike Oliver, is 100 percent open with Felicity and treats her as an equal partner, rather than as a subordinate. Their relationship is healthy and one of the few functional ones in this universe. To be fair, Oliver’s deeply embedded trust issues and inability to be open are to be expected and definitely won’t go away over night.
- Have you all seen this awesome superhero fight club promo?