With The Flash vs. Arrow crossover happening next week, The Flash could’ve gotten away with a low-key episode lacking in any serious serialization. But because The Flash is an exceptional show, it does quite the opposite. First and foremost, tonight’s episode is about Barry struggling to regain his powers after they are stolen by a metahuman, while Joe and Iris are held hostage in the police station. However, “Power Outage” goes a step further: It explores what happens when Dr. Harrison Wells’ surreptitious goals are both put in jeopardy by a metahuman and close to being revealed. Basically, all of this made for an exciting episode.
FLASHBACK — 10 months ago
We open with another flashback to the night of this explosion. This time we’re hanging out with Farooq and his friends as they chill on an electric-tower filled hill to watch the particle accelerator be turned on. Seeking a better view of the city or an adrenaline rush, who knows, Farooq decides to climb one of the towers—and we all know how this ends. The particle accelerator explodes sending theoretical particles in the air, and Farooq is struck by the blast while he’s still on the tower. We see the electricity surge through his body, and then he falls to the ground.
METAHUMAN OF THE WEEK: Farooq, a.k.a Blackout
As I mentioned earlier, Wells’ plans for Barry come into sharper focus in “Power Outage.” Following the flashback, we return to S.T.A.R. Labs in the present to find Wells entering his secret room. Once inside, he turns on his super-future-seeing computer/diary named Gideon and starts recording another log in his journal. Among the things that make it into this week’s diary entry: Barry’s been using his extraordinary powers to accomplish ordinary tasks and problems (like a slow line at a coffee shop), Barry’s become a bit of a show-off (cut to Barry taking his time disarming a mugger who accosts him), and that he’s worried Barry’s attachment to people is slowing down his progress.
Before leaving, Wells pulls up the newspaper from the future just to make sure that the future is intact. What’s funny is that we know Dr. Wells will probably end up hurting Barry at some point, but we don’t care because Cavanagh and the writers have created such an enigmatic and compelling character.
Forever tardy, Barry shows up to the lab and is immediately scolded by Wells, who reminds him of their deal: He and the team will help Barry save people from metahumans, and Barry will let them study him to make medical and scientific progress. He’s worried Barry isn’t given the latter enough attention.
“Speed is the key to progress. You need to kick it up a notch,” Wells says.
Unfortunately, their conversation is interrupted when Barry is called away to a homicide crime scene. Somewhere in Central City, the cops have found a body that’s been burnt to a crisp and is seemingly beyond recognition. Based on physical evidence found at the crime scene, Barry deduces that the man was electrocuted. Then, he takes a picture of the guy’s face and brings it back to S.T.A.R. Labs for them to identify him. Thanks to the upgrades Felicity gave their system, they can basically do anything now and quickly identify the man as a worker at an electric substation. Coincidentally (not really), said substation is losing power right at this moment. Barry speeds into action.
When he arrives on the scene, he finds a scary-looking Farooq siphoning off energy and proclaiming that he needs to feed. At first The Flash is able to dodge Farooq’s zapping, but eventually he gets caught by one and Farooq starts draining his energy. Having never tasted energy like this before, Farooq needs more and drains Barry until he’s lost all of his speed. Don’t think Wells yelling “Run, Barry” will help much this time.
[Sidenote: Did tonight’s episode remind anyone else of the “Leech” episode from Smallville’s first season where something similar happens to Clark?]