Just because Barry Allen has lost his speed doesn’t mean the Flash still can’t save the day. Just so long as he doesn’t say anything, touch anything, or go indoors, that is.
While Barry remains speed-less, Team Flash has figured out a Tupac-inspired solution to combat crime in Central City, with a hologram of the Flash speeding around town to intimidate but never physically confront street-level baddies. And though it’s a workable half measure for the moment, the return of Zoom to Earth-1 during “Rupture” forces Barry to consider whether Harry’s suggested new particle accelerator explosion is a necessary risk for regaining his speed.
Luckily, he’s not alone in that decision-making process because “Rupture” also offers perhaps the most dad-ness The Flash has ever displayed, which is saying quite a lot considering the show has delivered two of the best television fathers on air.
Barry goes to deliver the news to his father of his current powerless state on a jaunt to Henry Allen’s secluded wood cabin in the forest. Papa Allen is against Barry going along with Harry’s plans — he doesn’t think Barry needs his powers to be his best self. He’s still worried about his son’s potential future, though, so he heads back to the city with him.
(ASIDE: The scene also does its best to fan the fires of speculation with what is a throwaway piece of information to the characters but one that comes packed with plenty of potential for viewers. Henry mentions that Garrick, upon hearing Jay’s full name, is also his mother’s maiden name. Does that mean Henry Allen is the man in the iron mask? Is it someone else in Barry’s family we haven’t met yet, man or woman? Henry feels almost like to obvious an answer, but the man in the iron mask being a member of the Allen-Garrick lineage certainly seems like the most likely candidate. END ASIDE.)
When they arrive at S.T.A.R. Labs, Harry is continuing his crusade to enact another explosion. He’s steadfast in his belief that restoring Barry’s speed this way is the only means of stopping Zoom, though both members of the Allen family aren’t quite sold on the idea.
Unfortunately, the reality of dealing with Zoom meets them much sooner than they might have anticipated when he comes to the CCPD station to terrorize the town. He’s brought Caitlin with him, which stops him from immediately killing the station’s worth of police officers, who book it outside and eventually set up a temporary station at Jitters.
The city is his, Zoom claims, and all who disobey will meet a grim end, but naturally Team Flash has every intention of disobeying. Zoom pouts at homebase (the station) with Caitlin, who he continues to think he can make love him once again, if only for the sake of having someone around to no longer consider him a monster. But she’s not changing her tune anytime soon, even if Zoom thinks she can unlock the darkness inside her. Yet as he did on his own Earth, Zoom leaves Caitlin alone to go off and do…well, whatever a world-conquering speedster does, and she hatches a plan.
While she does, Team Flash figures out what to do now that Zoom has come. (The first easily handed priority is hiding those he has already kidnapped, so Wally and Jesse are stashed in Reverse-Flash’s secret room.) The different states of mind about how to approach the baddie come to a head with the show’s trio of father figures — Harry, Henry, and Joe. Harry continues to work on his makeshift contraption to imbue Barry with the powers he gained during the first explosion. Henry wants to protect his son and not meddle with forces outside their control. And Joe stands somewhere in the middle, unsure of what the right thing to do is while knowing Barry likely won’t change his mind once it’s set.
Although the show should absolutely employ this trio of actors together more frequently, the moment does more than bring three great performances together. It crystallizes the problem Barry faces and the influences in his life directing him on his way. The Flash has so often dealt in the relationships of fathers and sons, of the ideas of masculinity and responsibility those different father figures present, and how their sons in turn respond to those examples.
NEXT: Cisco runs into a familiar face…and that face’s doppelganger