Last week, The Flash surprisingly focused on a new relationship that allowed the show to explore some territory it hadn’t previously in its many seasons. What’s even more surprising is that this week’s episode somehow managed to do it again, especially since it focuses on one of the core foundations of the title character. The basis for the Flash’s journey is the death of his mother and false imprisonment of his father. It’s so fundamental that it’s almost strange the show hasn’t had a proxy for that relationship yet. But that is exactly what we see in this week’s episode.
When a fire based meta is accused of murder, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) gets triggered, recalling scenes of watching his own father (John Wesley Shipp) get carted away by police. The meta is an ex-con trying to do right by his son, so the similarities are strong and the focus of the plot. The evidence against this meta is abundant, so much that Barry practically stands alone against the other members of his team. But he won’t give up, and it leads to a very touching moment when Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is the one to push Barry to stay the course and follow his gut. It was a great scene mainly because Joe serves as Barry’s surrogate father. So imploring Barry to use the pain caused from his real father’s false imprisonment is a powerful message. And it’s surprising that the show hasn’t explored this area much, if at all, in previous seasons.
Although not the strongest episodes on their own, the fact that these past two episodes have been able to touch upon new aspects of the show does give hope for the remainder of the season. Past seasons have seen The Flash recycle material and plot lines, so hopefully this is an indication that they will be trying something new. This is especially important given that this episode also teased the big bad for the rest of the season, presumably the real meta killer that team Flash hasn’t discovered yet.
The Flash airs Wednesdays on The CW.