More like The Flash and The Furious (Joe West)

By Jonathon Dornbush
February 03, 2016 at 03:39 AM EST
Dean Buscher/The CW
S2 E12
  • TV Show

There was no tokyo drifting nor cars leaping from one building to the next, but The Flash tried to channel The Fast and the Furious during “Fast Lane,” with Barry’s speed in question and Joe tapping into his furious nature. It all comes together in an ordeal that viewers might think would require friends, but Team Flash doesn’t have friends — they’ve got family.

“Fast Lane” is very much, like that film franchise which I will refrain from mentioning every sentence, about family and what we’re willing to do for them. While the allusions do the messy episode, which feels more like a stopgap bridge to the hour-ending cliffhanger than a well-developed outing in its own right, little good, “Fast Lane” does try to extrapolate on that theme. For Harry, that means stealing The Flash’s power to protect his daughter. For Iris, that means risking her life to keep Wally out of street racing. And for Joe West, that means punching anyone who gets in his family’s way.

But the catalyst for much of the week’s struggle comes in the form of a much less interesting metahuman sideplot in what is already a bit of a scatterbrained episode. Thrown into a tar pit on the night of the S.T.A.R. Labs explosion, Joe Monteleone was hit with the metahuman-inducing blast, but left fused with the tar for two years, until renewed construction broke him free.

Now, with the ability to transform into tar and hurl his own fireballs, Monteleone is out for revenge on those old associates, who happened to have been the ones to toss him into his temporary prison.

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Luckily, Cisco’s new app that tracks all metahuman-related social media posts, gets wind of the soon-to-be-named Tarpit out wreaking havoc. Barry is able to pulls some tricks and temporarily put Tarpit out of commission, but the team regroups to do a little research on who they’re facing.

They dig into Monteleone’s files, as well as his known associates, and while they can account for two (one of whom he burned so badly the man looked like volcanic lava had decimated him), the third is a bit of a mystery. Thankfully, Iris steps in and recognizes the guy.

Iris, concerned for Wally’s safety, decides to dive into Central City’s seedy (but still relatively clean-looking) underbelly of street racing. While the West family is bonding, Iris notices Joe is acting more like a friend than a father to Wally, and she’s worried no one stepping in between Wally and way of life could spell certain doom for him.

So Iris decides to dress up like a flag girl, complete with heels, fur, and some hair dye, to assimilate into Wally’s world, with the hopes of finding a way to pluck him out of that way of life. And the guy running the street races just so happens to be Monteleone’s third target. Iris first deals with him when asking him to shut down the street races or she’ll ensure the press and the police get wind of his current and past crimes. But this guy has a short temper and a tendency toward violence, threatening Iris’ life even as she reveals she’s been recording their entire conversation.

Wally is upset with her meddling, but that meddling saves Wally’s life. Iris and Joe appear on the night of a race to ID their suspected target, only to arrive right in time for Wally’s race. But his race just so happens to go off the rails as Wally loses control of his car, careening into a small mound that sends his car airborne. Iris puts in a call to Barry, who is out with Harry and successfully shutting one of the 52 breaches between their and Zoom’s world.

Barry arrives in time to save Wally from slamming back to Earth inside his car, but the shattering vehicle continues to skid forward, right toward Iris. Barry dashes to stop it, swatting shards of glass and metal out of the way, but he’s not fast enough to stop a shard of glass from cutting into Iris.

Iris survives but has to be rushed to the hospital for immediate care. And as she recovers, the big question is how was Barry, The Flash, not fast enough to save her? Well, that would be Harry’s fault.

NEXT: A bed-ridden West, a West who feels the need for speed, and a West who likes to punch people. A lot. 

Earth-2’s Harrison Wells has been sapping Barry of his speed, thanks to a device he implanted on Barry’s suit. It didn’t take much, but he sapped enough to make Barry 2 percent slower, as Caitlin later notes. He stole the speed and gave it to Zoom, who injected the healthy dose of speed steroids into his system, but he’s already hungry for more.

Harry tries to negotiate with him — he’ll steal the rest of Barry’s speed if Zoom gives him back his daughter. He thinks Zoom won’t kill her or him before he has Barry’s speed, and he’s right. Zoom won’t kill his daughter, but he will torture her, day after day, leaving Harry with no choice but to continue his treacherous work for fear of Zoom’s threat.

Harry’s conscience forces him to eventually come clean, though. Despite his insistence to keep a measured distance from Team Flash, Barry’s perseverance in showing him the same friendship he would to anyone else on the team has softened him up to the crew. And Barry’s talk of the original Harrison Wells, for turning out to be the murderer of his mother, being so much of a mentor and father figure to him may have gotten to Harry, too.

So as Barry questions his abilities following Iris’ injury, Harry reveals his misdeeds to the group. Joe, already on edge from what’s happened to Iris, clocks Harry and drags him into a metahuman cell because if he didn’t, he may have killed the guy.

With Harry locked up for the moment, the rest of the team deals with Tarpit in quick fashion, using one of his targets as bait before destroying his lava monster form. And with one more punch to the face from Joe, Tarpit goes down. He’s not the real issue of the hour — it’s the state of the family that is Team Flash.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the crew figures out what to do with Harry, who, recognizing his faults, has told them to focus on closing the breaches for good so Zoom can never enter their world. He can figure out what to do with his daughter on his own.

But Barry doesn’t accept that course of action. He recognizes that Harry acted as he did because he had one thing on his mind, his daughter. He knows that any of them would be willing to make some questionable choices for the sake of saving their loved ones, and Harry is no different.

Joe, too, has to make a choice that could save his family. Wally arrives at the hospital to wish his newfound sister well, but he quickly departs, unable to handle the situation. Joe chases after him, not out of anger (though he is angry his son lives in such a dangerous manner). He chased after him because Joe recognizes that he can’t keep acting like Wally’s friend. He has to act like his father, and he does so by imparting some pearls of wisdom as only Joe can.

Family means looking out for each other, putting those around you above yourself, he tells his son in what may be their first true father-son moment. And so he’s forbidding Wally from leaving his injured sister because family doesn’t abandon each other. Wally, though shocked, absorbs Joe’s message and sticks around to stay by his sister’s side. And so Iris awakens to find him there while Joe is out helping Barry.

Together, the two emotionally connect in a way they haven’t before. Wally describes his love of going fast, his memories of being in the car with his mom and the world “flashing” him by (there are more than a couple of allusions to Wally’s desire to travel at incredible speeds). And so he kept racing, even after his mother died because the speed brought him back to those days with her. To stop would mean to maybe lose those memories, and that fear has kept him in the driver’s seat. It’s another important step for the formation of this new West family dynamic, and though there will likely be more bumps in the road, the whole ordeal is one that helps the West family to move forward, together.

Barry realizes that his and the rest of the team’s charge will require them to move forward together, as well. That includes Harry, but it does not include merely slapping shut all of the portals connecting their worlds. To close all of the breaches would be to close the door on Earth-2, on Harry’s daughter. Barry can’t let that stand. So he lets Harry out of his cage, welcoming him to the family.

And it’s a family that’s going to be taking a trip together in the near future. A trip to Earth-2, that is.

Episode Recaps

After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.
  • TV Show
  • 6
  • 10/15/14
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