This week only had a new episode of The Flash because Arrow was taking a holiday break to get them even in episode number again, in time for the big Flash vs. Arrow two-parter next week. This week’s Flash gave Barry a new push for going faster, and allowed Iris to face a difficult situation without her hero coming to the rescue. Read on for a full recap and my thoughts on the episode!
The Flash, “Power Outage”
We start with yet another flashback to the night of the particle accelerator explosion, with some drunk friends hanging out at an big power station. One man climbs up one of the towers a bit, sees the explosion start, and tells his friends to get in the car, but is too slow climbing down to save himself and get electrocuted as the shockwave hits. In the present day, Dr. Wells is recording a log entry in his secret room where he expresses concern about Barry’s growing reliance on his speed to solve everyday problems. When Barry arrives (late) to S.T.A.R. Labs, Wells gives him a talking to, reminding him that his ability might be the key to all sorts of medical problems, and that’s why the team is helping him in his heroics. Barry has to run off when a homicide gets called in, and he notices that Detective West seems to be acting a little strange but West denies that anything is wrong. While Cisco is helping Barry identify their crispy electrified corpse, Caitlin notices a power drain happening and Barry runs to go check it out. When Barry confronts the man feeding on the energy, he starts draining energy from Barry, and Barry somehow loses his super speed.
Dr. Wells promises Barry they will find a way to fix him, and Barry goes to tell West what happened. As Barry leaves the police department, a creepy looking man in glasses is being brought in in handcuffs. Dr. Wells goes into his secret room and gets angry when there is no longer any reference to the Flash in the future. Barry admits to Caitlin that without his abilities, he doesn’t feel like his best self. Cisco identifies the man who attacked Barry as Farooq Gibran, who survived an electrical accident the night of the particle accelerator explosion. Right at that moment, of course, Gibran shows up outside of S.T.A.R. Labs, demanding to speak to Dr. Wells. He starts pulling on power lines, causing power to flicker on and off around a whole portion of the city, including the police department, where the creepy looking man in glasses then breaks out of his cuffs and holds everyone there hostage.
Dr. Wells says he has a theory for how to bring Barry’s powers back, and Barry decides to go talk to Gibran, because he heard about the hostage situation and he wants to go rescue Iris and her father. Tochman (glasses man) makes his demands, and West notices that Eddie is still in the police department, and armed. Gibran tells Barry that the night of the explosion, his friends died because they were trying to give him CPR and he electrocuted them. He then attacks Barry, and the team takes him off to test Wells’ theory for restoring his power with an big electrical shock. Detective West tries to negotiate with Tochman, but is unsuccessful, and Eddie decides to make a move and shoot Tochman, but Tochman is wearing Kevlar under his shirt, and turns around and shoots Eddie right back, multiple times.
Dr. Wells releases Woodward on the condition that he kill Gibran. While Woodward and Gibran are fighting, Caitlin electrocutes Barry, and it seems like it might have worked. Barry finds Woodward right as he dies from fighting with Gibran. Dr. Wells admits to the team that he released Woodward to buy them time, and as they talk the team realizes Barry’s problem is largely psychological at this point, and they tell him he needs to believe in himself again. When Gibran corners them, Barry regains his power in time to save Dr. Wells, and take out Gibran. Then he remembers Iris.
Tochman decides to take Iris with him into his escape helicopter, as insurance, and as she says a quick goodbye to Eddie, she grabs the gun from his ankle holster. She pulls it on Tochman, who seemingly knocks it out of her hand. When Barry arrives, he sees Eddie being rolled out to an ambulance, and Iris sitting with her father – still very much alive. Barry apologizes to Dr. Wells for things he said in the heat of the moment, and Wells says that Barry wasn’t entirely wrong. Barry then goes to visit Eddie in the hospital, bringing him flowers. When the flowers get knocked over, Barry catches them before they hit the ground, and West is happy to see that Barry has his powers back. Barry then goes to see Iris as the Flash, and promises he won’t be late again, and that she deserves being on time for. We see Dr. Wells making yet another log entry in his secret room, acknowledging that Barry’s attachment to people is probably more of a strength than he had previously allowed. The next morning, Barry is on time for his testing at S.T.A.R. Labs, acknowledging that Wells was right – this was about more than him. The last thing we see Wells doing is getting a blood sample from the dead Gibran, in hopes of figuring out how he absorbed Barry’s power.
I really enjoyed this episode in some ways because it gave both Barry and Iris room to grow. That said, I felt like the Iris storyline made a little more sense, because the transition from Barry actually physically losing his ability, and losing it just because he was scared, was not particularly clear (at least for me). It sort of felt like one minute he had his power back, and the next he didn’t, and yes it was upsetting for him to see Woodward die like that, because of Dr. Wells’ actions, but if his desire to protect Iris was as strong as it has been suggested to us so far in this show, why did it take seeing Dr. Wells in danger for him to get his power back, and not the fact that Iris was involved in a hostage situation? That disconnect didn’t quite work for me, and made the resolution of the episode a little weaker, although I did enjoy Iris ‘being her own hero’ for once.